The Mixing of the Genes: Intermarriage

  • A. J. Jaffe


Amerindian and Eastern Hemisphere genes have been mixing since at least the eleventh century. In that century Vikings under Leif Ericson reached northern Newfoundland and settled in what is now L’Anse aux Meadows (Morison 1971, Chapter 3). The Vikings referred to the natives whom they encountered, and of course fought, as Skraelings. It is uncertain whether these were the last of the Dorset Eskimo (the sagas describe them as attacking in skin boats) or the Beothuk Indians (Such 1978, p. 38). We cannot say for certain that Viking and native genes mixed, but we assume that they did. There are no Dorset Eskimo nor Beothuk alive today to give evidence.


Native People Indian Woman Native Woman Eleventh Century Mixed Ancestry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    This interpretation of marriage rates for converting an age distribution into a time series is developed in Chapter 8, footnote 16. It is based on the assumptions that (a) the intermarriage rates observed in 1980 or any other point in time are very similar to those at the time of marriage; and (b) different death rates and/or divorce or separation or remarriage rates among the several age groups have not distorted the age comparisons.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This very brief historical summary is abstracted from Harison (1985), Waldman (1985), and the Atlas of Canada (1981).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The influence of farming opportunities upon the size of the Indian population and European settlement was discussed in Chapter 7. That there were almost as many European-origin women as men in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century U.S. and fewer women in Canada, is suggested by scattered data in (for example) Sutherland (1936), and Greene and Harrington (1932).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For information about ancestry or ethnicity from the 1981 census, catalogue 92–911, see p. vi, “Definitions.” The native respondent could enter as many ethnic categories as desired, one to indicate that he/she is a native, and any others. Those who checked only one ethnic origin to indicate Native People were tabulated as “single response.” Those who checked more than one were tabulated as “multiple response,” that is, multiple ancestry. We assume that the latter are similar, more or less, to the U.S. Amerindians whom we designate as “mixed.”Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This number includes the Métis. We set the number of Métis of multiple ancestry equal to the total number reported by the census, because by definition the Métis are of mixed ethnicity.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The reports from the reserves are mimeographed or photocopied sheets, available from Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Jaffe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Museum of the American IndianNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations